Germination Test


While studying agriculture in college, I took a variety of agricultural courses, Plant Science, Animal Science and Soil Science were a few of the basics. I took Plant Science during my first semester and one of the labs involved a germination test. I remember thinking, this is something I will use in real life! We used paper towels to do our germination test in college but I put my own frugal twist to my germination test. (Mainly because I don’t have any paper towels and this is much prettier!)

After cracking eggs for baking and cooking, I washed them out. Then I placed the halves into an egg carton and added soil. Once the soil was added, I placed a couple seeds in each egg shell. I only used 2 of the larger seeds but 3-5 of the smaller seeds like peppers and tomatoes.

I put the carton in the kitchen windowsill and waited! I enjoyed peeping at the carton every time I washed dishes and finally after only 4 days, my peas started to sprout! I was so excited!

After a week the peas, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, onions and cantaloupe sprouted and they’re continuing to grow! Our tomatoes and peppers did not germinate which didn’t come as a huge surprise since those seeds are over 3 years old.

The main reason I did the germination test was to cut down on our garden costs. We had a bag full of seed in our freezer, some dating back as far as 2009 and we wanted to make sure that it would germinate before wasting our time planting it. We also didn’t want to throw out perfectly good seed and waste money.

Now that I’ve done the germination test, I know that most of our seeds are viable and we only need to purchase tomato and pepper seeds. This little test will save us some money and make gardening even more frugal!

Do you start your plants from seed?


Diaper Washing Routine

While preparing to cloth diaper two babies, I thought a lot about the wash routine. My plan was washing every other day with about 26-30 diapers per load. That’s what I did the first week of clothing diapering two and it was way too many diapers (prefolds/inserts/covers/pockets) in my washing machine! I really didn’t want to have to wash diapers every single day so I decided to split the wash.

Here’s a glimpse into my dirty diaper storage system and my diaper washing routine.

Diaper Storage System: 

Once a diaper is used, I bring it to the bathroom where my diaper pail and hanging wet bag are. I pull the prefold/insert out of the cover/pocket diaper.

The prefold/insert goes into the diaper pail. This has a lid that does a fabulous job keeping in odors! As long as it’s closed, you can’t smell anything.

The cover/pocket diaper goes into the hanging wet bag which is hanging on the door. I make sure that they’re folded up so no poo/dampness gets on the bag so I can use the bag multiple times without washing it. I keep the bag unzipped most of the time and there are no major odor issues. If we have company coming, I’ll zip it up, just in case!

Diaper Washing Routine:

I take the wet bag full of covers and pocket diapers and do a cold rinse without detergent. Weston is exclusively breast fed and I don’t rinse his dirty diapers before putting them in the bag so this is to rinse all of that off. I also think this step helps cut down on diaper stains!

After the rinse, I put in 1 scoop of detergent (we’re currently using Charlie’s Soap) and wash on hot.

Once they’ve been washed, I hang them on my drying rack in our guest room. (There were 23  covers/pockets in this particular load.) The drying rack is over our heat vent which is helping them dry faster! They usually take about 6 hours to dry.

After I’ve hung the covers/pockets, it’s time to wash the prefolds/inserts.

I empty the diaper pail into the wash and do a cold rinse. A rinse in this load helps cut down on odors and prevent staining on the prefolds.

When the rinse cycle is over, I put in 2 scoops of detergent and wash on hot.

I follow this hot wash with another hot wash to make sure there’s no detergent residue (which causes buildup resulting in stinky diapers!)

Once they’re washed, I dry them in the dryer. (I know, it’s not very eco-friendly but it’s too cold to hang them on the line and they take a good 12-18 hours to dry and we’re often down to the wire on diapers at this point in the wash routine!)

When the inserts and prefolds are dry, I bring them into the guest room to await folding and stuffing!

Folding and stuffing diapers is actually one of my favorite chores. I know it sounds crazy but I love filling up my clothes basket with a rainbow of colorful clean diapers.

That’s my current wash routine. It evolved over the past 21 months of cloth diapering due to factors such as water hardness at our past two homes and adding a new baby to the mix but it’s what is working for us right now. Once the weather warms up, we’ll be doing most of the drying on the clothesline. And, I’m sure in 6 months, it’ll be different (especially if Paxton is potty trained!)

It seems like it’s a lot of work but honestly, after nearly 2 years of washing diapers, it’s not a hard chore. I love that we’re saving so much money, don’t have stinky trash and that my boys’ bottoms are comfy in cloth!

If you cloth diaper, I’d love to hear about your wash routine! 

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links.

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Raised Garden Beds

When my husband was finished building our compost barrel, he assembled our raised garden beds. When I shared about planning our garden, there was only one raised bed in our garden spot, now there are four!

Once we placed the beds, we laid down a thick layer of newspaper, creating a barrier to prevent weeds. We wet the newspaper to keep it weighted down.

Once the newspaper was all down, we put a layer of garden soil over it.

Now there’s just a thin layer of soil, we need to purchase a load of soil to fill our beds up.

This year we have a little garden helper, he helped packed down the soil.

Next on our ‘gardening to do list’ is filling these with soil and soon we’ll be planting!

Planning Our Garden

The unseasonably warm weather has us looking forward to spring and our garden! When we purchased our home last March, we were more excited about our yard than we were the house. We have one acre with a fenced in backyard and ample room for gardening.

We spent quite a bit of time planning a garden last spring. We bought supplies for four raised beds and only built one. That’s as far as we got. A few weeks later we found out I was pregnant with our second baby and soon after morning sickness followed and the garden was abandoned.

This year is going to be different. We’re already making plans and looking forward to gardening as a family and fresh vegetables!

Here’s our garden space:

The garden as of yesterday. Nothing much to look at, there’s one raised bed and that’s it.

The one bed that was built last year. We’re going to be getting the weeds and last years dead plants out and adding more soil!

We purchased this barrel via Craigslist for $10. John David has plans for it, I’m not quite sure exactly what he’s going to do with it (he has the mechanical mind!) The plan it to put this out in the garden space, although we’re not sure where exactly it will go.

As we work in the garden, I’ll keep you updated on the progress!

Are you looking forward to spring time and gardening? Do you do raised beds, a traditional garden or use some other method?